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NYG 23, DAL 19: Cowboys’ Comeback Falls Short in Season-Ending Loss

The Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated from the NFC East race and the playoffs with a 23-19 loss today to the New York Giants. They will finish the year 6-10 in Mike McCarthy’s first season as head coach.

And as far as today goes, McCarthy may have only himself to blame.

The Cowboys fought back from a 20-9 halftime deficit to make it 20-19 midway through the 4th quarter. After forcing the Giants into a 3rd-and-16 from the Dallas 42-yard line, a 10-yard pass from Daniel Jones to Dante Pettis appeared to be trapped against the turf but was ruled a completion, setting up New York in makeable field goal range.

McCarthy did not challenge the play. Whether he ran out of time to throw the flag or chose not to is not clear but, based on video replays. it would very likely have been overturned and taken New York out of FG range. Instead, the Giants went up by four.

Dallas might have only been down by three at that point if McCarthy had attempted a 2-point conversion on their previous touchdown. But despite a score of 20-15 after Ezekiel Elliott’s TD run in the 3rd quarter, the Cowboys took the extra point and carried a four-point deficit into the final quarter.

The Cowboys mounted a gritty drive to get into the redzone in the final minutes and get a chance at the game-winning touchdown. But after reaching 1st-and-Goal from the 7-yard line, a sack and then a dropped catch by CeeDee Lamb left the Cowboys in 3rd-and-Goal from the 17.

Andy Dalton, who’d been under pressure all day, had to scramble and then lobbed a pass into the endzone that was picked off by Xavier McKinney. At that moment it appeared the Cowboys’ season was over.

There was some late drama when Wayne Gallman fumbled the ball on New York’s final drive and it appeared that Dallas may have recovered. But a review showed Gallman had possession at the bottom of the pile and the Giants kept possession to seal the game.

It was a tough ending to a tough season. Of course, that depression may have just come a few hours earlier as Dallas wasn’t making the playoffs anyway without a loss tonight by Washington.

But playoffs or not, it would’ve been nice to see the Cowboys finish the year on a four-game winning streak. But instead of that high note to end his first season in Dallas, Mike McCarthy will be taking a lot of heat for how this game played out.

And if Washington does manage to blow it tonight against the Eagles, that heat is sure to get turned up.

Other Notes

  • Ezekiel Elliott fell 21 yards short of passing the 1,000-yard mark for the season. It’s only the second year that Zeke hasn’t reached that milestone; the other was his suspension-shorted season in 2017.
  • Andy Dalton was sacked six times and otherwise harassed most of the day. He had 243 passing yards but no touchdowns and probably should have a had a couple more interceptions with how errant his throws were.
  • Greg Zuerlein went 4/4 on field goals today to reach 34 makes for the year, tying Richie Cunningham for the single-season record for Cowboys kickers. One of his FGs was a 57-yarder to close the first half after the Giants attempted to ice him.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence and Donovan Wilson each had late-game sacks as the Dallas defense started to come alive following a rough first half. Wilson also had an interception off a tipped ball by Evan Engram to close out his strong sophomore season.
  • Dalton Schultz led all Cowboys receivers with seven catches for 70 yards.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

Comments

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  1. Jess, totally agree with your article. Don’t know why we didn’t try that two point conversion.

    The non challenge was a horrible decision, and may be the main reason why we lost the game. They don’t make the FG and we win with a FG. Makes no sense to AT LEAST TRY THE CHALLENGE.

    Also, I don’t like deferring after winning the coin flip.

    That being said, looking at all the players Philly is sitting tonite, this all may be a moot point. But as you said, still would have been nice to finish 4 wins in a row. I guess the draft position got slightly better if you are looking for some consolation.

  2. Poor coaching made for a terrible year. Poor playing by the players made it a terrible year. They will blame injuries. That is only a cop out to bad decisions by everyone employed by the Cowboys.

  3. Well I hate we lost I kinda thought we were about to start peaking at the right time! But in all actuality we didn’t deserve to be in the tournament ! AD didn’t play as good as he could have BUT with him running for his life (6 sacks) and dropped balls by Gallup and Lamb sure didn’t help any! Also the usual defense debacle and not throwing the challenge flag I guess there is enough blame for everybody to take some! I’m not out on MM I’ll see how he does next year with a whole year to prepare for the season !

  4. Elliott has only played 5 seasons so missing 1000 twice out of 5 seasons means you are not exceptional.
    Lawrence finished with 6 sacks for the season.
    The receivers again are near the top in drops.
    The defense is run over and undisciplined.
    McCarthy lost several games doing stupid ‘ go for it ‘ plays .
    Overall, a typical Jerry World year.

  5. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get a good defense coordinator. Ive been a Cowboys fan since 1976 and have never seen such poor ass coaches. Please Jerry do the right thing for the fans. If Dak could have been there all year im sure the boys would have scored alot more points but it still would have been tough because of the crapy coaching on defense. Alos Zeke grow some balls and plow thru the defenders the studder step rite before you hit the line really kills your momentum man. Just watch how Pollard does it. That guy is not afraid to hit . Lifetime fan Frank.

  6. I know everyone wants to fix the defense in the draft this off season. It seems to me you have to fix the offense starting with the offensive line. Cowboys move the ball but kick FAR TOO MANY FIELD GOALS instead of touchdowns. Cowboys had one touchdown and four field goals while the giants got three touchdowns and one field goal. Game over. The QB was sacked six times. Don’t blame the coach. Blame the GM.

  7. At least we have the 10th pick now , though i disagree on firing Nolan , give him a full offseason with OTA’s and what we used to get before Covid , get some help through free agency and draft on defense and you’ll see they will be a lot different than what we saw this season . McCarthy should prob be fired but we all know how Jerry likes his puppet head coaches , why else do you think that Bill Parcells was the last good head coach we had and before him the great Jimmy Johnson ?

  8. Ppl need to stop blaming coaches and start blaming the players , we’re not paying D-Law 21 million a year (Highest among DEs in the NFL ) to get only 6 sacks for the entire season , nor should we be paying Zeke 15 million a year ( 3rd highest among RBs in the NFL) to not get 1000 Yds in a year where we needed him to do that with Dak hurt ,and the contracts we have to eat with this banged up O-Line , at some point THE PLAYERS HAVE GOT TO JUST PLAY , FORGET(sub that other word that you know) THE COACHES BALL OUT

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